United Rugby Championship (URC) resumes for South African teams with the Bulls visiting the Sharks in at Kings Park Stadium Durban on Friday night while the Stormers are at home to the Lions at the Cape Town Stadium the following day.
South African teams are back in action against each other after European opposition withdrew from the tournament following the discovery and outbreak of the new Covid-19 variant in the country last week.
And while bragging rights will be up for grabs before a short break for the festive season, the four South African teams will realise the importance of finishing the year on a high and bagging some very important log points after a slow start to the competition.
Sharks VS Bulls
Sharks head coach Sean Everitt has named a strong and experienced squad teeming with Springbok players for their United Rugby Championship (URC) match against the Bulls at Kings Park on Friday night.
Everitt had no hesitation in naming an extremely competitive and experienced that includes tried and tested Boks like team captain Lukhanyo Am, Siya Kolisi, Makazole Mapimpi, Bongi Mbonambi and Sbu Nkosi in the starting line-up.
With the first four rounds of URC action now over and the autumn test window a thing of the past, the South African sides are back to full strength and Everitt has been able to recall numerous Boks to his side for this match-up.
For visiting coach Jake White, he has included exciting tighthead prop Robert Hunt to earn his first starting berth for the Bulls when he announced an exciting 23-man squad to take on the Sharks.
Hunt, who made his debut and played off the bench on the Bulls’ four-week tour of Europe in the opening rounds of the URC, will buckle down alongside Gerhard Steenekamp at loosehead prop, with the experienced Bismarck du Plessis starting at hooker.
A few positional switches in the backline sees Kurt-Lee Arendse staring in the No15 jersey while David Kriel will get an opportunity at outside centre alongside Cornal Hendricks and Richard Kriel will also earn his URC debut when he lines up on the left wing.
Pick: Sharks Wins by 0.53 at BetXChange
Stormers VS Lions
The Capetonians, who had the best return from their early-season tour to the Northern Hemisphere where they bagged seven log points after a win and a draw, will be looking to impress at home.
On the side of the Lions, coach Ivan van Rooyen has made one forced change to the match 23 for their URC trip to take on the Stormers in Cape Town on Saturday.
Besides the late withdrawal of Springbok tight head Ruan Dreyer due to an injury concern, Van Rooyen maintained the same side who would have done duty against Welsh outfit Cardiff Rugby last week Sunday at Emirates Airline Park which ended in a postponement.
The Lions mentor expressed his side’s disappointment after not having played last week’s fixture but praised his troops for their positive spirit this week as they prepare for the local derby.
Pick: Stormers Wins by 0.18 at BetXChange